Hyundai unveils smartphone-based car key

Tyrone Stewart

Hyundai Digital KeyHyundai has redefined what ‘keyless entry’ means with the development of a way to unlock and start its vehicles using just a smartphone. The ‘Digital Key’, which can be downloaded via an app, can be used by up to four authorised people.

Digital Key uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to detect the presence of an enabled smartphone with close proximity of the vehicle door, where entry identification is located in the handles of the driver and front passenger side, and the wireless charging pad to start the engine.

Once the vehicle is unlocked, the engine can be started by placing the smartphone on the wireless charging pad in the centre console and pressing the engine Start/Stop button on the dashboard.

With the Digital Key, a user’s preferred vehicle settings are stored in the vehicle and then adjusted automatically once their identity has been recognised. Furthermore, the Digital Key can be used via Bluetooth to lock and unlock the vehicle, activate the alarm, and start the engine. The level of access provided to each user can also be tailored and set to a defined time – for instance, if the owner is renting out the vehicle.

“The Digital Key will benefit a very wide range of future Hyundai customers, as well as enabling innovative new schemes for vehicle sharing,” said Ho Yoo, group leader of Hyundai Motor Group's Electronics Development Group. “We are studying other ways to harness this type of connected-car technology to greatly enhance the driving and ownership experience.”